Reviews

Death Match

Created by Katrina Cornwell (director), Morgan Rose (writer), Cody Baldwin (assistant director), and the cast: Stephen Amos, Rebecca Catalano, Elly D’Arcy, Aleeah Gabriel, Earl Marrows & Ursula Searle. Monash Centre for Theatre & Performance and Malthouse Theatre. Malthouse Theatre, The Tower, Melbourne. 29 September – 7 October 2017

Death Match is about competition and winning – winning at whatever the cost.  Here, sport is the metaphor – or the stand-in, so to speak – for any form of competition.  The callisthenic exercises we see on stage, however, are not a test of skill but of fitness, body type (i.e. luck), will-power and endurance.

Hay Fever

By Noël Coward. Melbourne Theatre Company. Southbank Theatre, The Sumner. 23 September – 28 October 2017.

Noël Coward’s Hay Fever is a play that has ‘no plot and… few if any witty lines’ – or so said the critics at the play’s first production in 1925.  And yet here it is, in yet another of its many revivals, often played by stellar casts, and including at least three versions for television. 

The Clean House

Written by Sarah Ruhl. Stirling Players (SA). Directed by Kevin Burrett. Stirling Community Theatre. 22 September – 7 October 2017.

The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl follows five people who are trying to manage their lives and remain sane in the process. There is Lane, Josephine Pugh, who is the highly organised and successful doctor who hates cleaning but who needs a really clean house. Her sister Virginia, Jenny Penny, finds a reason for living through cleaning. Mathilde, Andrea Freitas, is on a quest to devise the funniest joke in the world and although employed as a cleaner by Lane, hates cleaning.

La Voix Humaine

By Francis Poulenc. Blanke Knochen Opera. Director: Kate Millett. Musical Director: James Penn. Venue: Carlton Club. September 26 – 30, 2017

The Melbourne Fringe Festival is always looking for quirky shows in unusual venues. This BK Opera delivered.

Set on the fourth floor of the Carlton Club, this one acter for one character was played out in four different rooms with four different sopranos. The rooms and audience were very small, so only an amateur group could have attempted this.

Puntila/Matti

By Bertolt Brecht, adapted by Tobias Manderson-Galvin & Dr Tom Payne. A Doppelgangster Production by MKA Theatre in association with KXT bAKEHOUSE. Directed by Tobias Manderson-Galvin and Dr Tom Payne. Kings Cross Theatre, Sydney. 28 September – 14 October, 2017

Great: an ultra-modern, sexy, crazy version of Brecht’s Mr Puntilla and his Man Matti. But, no, this isn’t what I think/hope it’s going to be. In fact it’s often difficult to discern what’s going on at all.

La Cage Aux Folles

Music & Lyrics: Jerry Herman. Book: Harvey Fierstein. Nash Theatre Inc Director: Leo Bradley. Musical. Director: Mary Greathead. Choreography: Shai Lewis. Merthyr Road Uniting Church, New Farm. 22 Sep – 14 Oct 2017

This must be the most tawdry drag show in town but also the funniest thanks to Ross Waghorn’s turn as Zaza/Albin. A performer who has street cred in ‘Drag’ (he frequently works as his alter-ego Wanda DParke), he commands the stage and with his smart delivery and ad-libs he finds a few more laughs than are on the page in Harvey Fierstein’s bubbly script. It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a ‘Drag Queen’ play the role and it was a revelation.

Ferrucio Furlanetto in Recital with Igor Tchetuev

Presented by Opera Australia at the City Recital Hall, Sydney. 27th September and 29th September 2017

Hailed as “the world’s finest bass”, Ferrucio Furlanetto made his opera debut at La Scala Milam in 1979 in Verdi’s Macbeth. Since then he has sung in opera houses all over the world, in roles from Don Giaovanni to Mephistopheles to Don Quixote. He is also widely acclaimed as a concert singer on the international stage.

Calendar Girls

By Tim Firth. Directed by Peter J Snee, Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins St, Melbourne. 27 September - 7 October 2017.

The story of an unlikely group of Yorkshire women who pose nude for a calendar in an effort to raise money for cancer research challenges many conventional notions about nudity and decorum. This heart-warming story is big on sentimentality and tempered with tasteful and good-natured humour.

For the Ones Who Walk Away

Concept and Direction – Nadja Kostich. Text – Ursula K.LeGuin, Daniel Keene and the St Martins ensemble. St Martins and Melbourne Fringe. September 27 to October 1, 2017.

This work is for an active audience – one that is thoughtful and keen to find and make meaning. 

All the child participants work sublimely as a team. An extraordinary sense of interconnected community is created through the amalgam of a big group of kids with varying skill and abilities, working together as small groups with strong messages, then as a huge cooperative where there is minimal digression – a neutrality. 

Les Misérables

Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg. Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer. Original French text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel. Additional Material by James Fenton. The G&S Society of South Australia. Arts Theatre. 28th September -7th October, 2017

Set in 19th century France, Les Misérables is based on the novel of the same name by French poet and novelist Victor Hugo. Transformed in 1980 into the musical we know today, with music by Claude-Michel Schonberg and English lyrics by Herbert Kreuzer, it has been on a stage somewhere in the world ever since.

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